Guus Hiddink insists that he holds no regrets over his decision to rejoin Chelsea, despite confirming that he was approached by Leicester City before the newly crowned champions opted to appoint Claudio Ranieri. The experienced Dutchman, who temporarily took the reins at Stamford Bridge back in 2009 and won the FA Cup before resuming his duties with the Russian national team, returned to the club for a second interim stint in December following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho.
Hiddink has performed admirably to successfully halt Chelsea's rapid decline, hauling last season's dominant title winners away from the relegation zone to leave them ninth with three Premier League fixtures left to play. There was never any realistic possibility that the 69-year-old would be offered the job on a full-time basis, however, and he is set to be replaced by former Juventus boss Antonio Conte following the conclusion of Italy's involvement at Euro 2016.
Chelsea eventually played a pivotal role in confirmation of Leicester's incredible once in a lifetime triumph, with goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard securing a feisty 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night (2 May) that meant Ranieri's side held an unassailable seven-point lead over their nearest challengers. The Foxes will receive a traditional guard of honour when they visit west London on the final day of the season, although Hiddink does not regret his decision to turn down a move to the King Power Stadium.
"It is true Leicester asked me for this season," he told De Telegraaf. "But I had decided it was time for a rest, and I wanted to just do nothing."
On his task at Chelsea, Hiddink added: "The club was in a downward spiral and there was panic. It was my task to bring peace. It was successful. If we hadn't have changed things, something could have happened to Chelsea that no one in advance had expected. Just as no one had expected in advance that a club like Leicester City could be champions. I do not regret that I said yes to Chelsea. The Premier League is fantastic and I'm happy that I got to experience a second time."
Chelsea visit relegation-threatened Sunderland on Saturday (7 May) before closing out a hugely disappointing campaign with matches against Liverpool and Leicester. Hiddink's remit now is to prepare his players for a no-nonsense disciplinarian in Conte, who will presumably want the whole squad - including some of the multitude of loanees - assessed before his arrival this summer.